First it was the turn of Windows 8, with reports of poor sales and questions about its early performance on the market going unanswered. With Microsoft stating some facts (though by no means giving a complete picture) that indicate brisk, if not unprecedented, sales, the kvetching about Windows 8’s performance has got a little quieter.

So now it is the turn of Microsoft’s Surface for Windows RT tablet to be in the sales figure spotlight. The focus is understandable. Surface RT is a significant departure from Microsoft’s traditional business model, with Microsoft not just writing the software, but also specifying and designing the hardware, commissioning its manufacture, and selling the finished units through its online store and brick-and-mortar outlets throughout the US.

Ever since Surface was announced back in June, Microsoft has been vague about how it expected Surface to perform, and only a little more specific about its role in the market. At the company’s Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in July, CEO Steve Ballmer said that of the 375 million Windows 8 devices that the company forecast it would sell in the first 12 months of availability, “a few million” would be Surfaces. Surface was not intended to replace the OEMs, it was rather a “design point” created to fulfil the needs of a certain slice of the PC market.

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via Ars Technica » Technology Lab